Inibehe Effiong, a public interest and human rights lawyer, has described the actions of the Department of State Security (DSS) as abominable.
Effiong was reacting to the recent altercation between DSS and Nigerian Correctional Service personnel in the Federal High Court, Lagos premises.
DSS officers had prevented their NCoS counterparts from taking former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele into their facility after a court order.
Effiong noted that the moment the Judge ordered Emefiele to be remanded in the custody of the NCoS, the DSS should have immediately vacated the court premises since NCoS officers were within the court premises and prepared to discharge their functions.
”To be clear, once a court has made an order remanding a defendant in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service, the order takes immediate effect. No inter-agency communication is required for the order to be effective.
”The only circumstance where another agency can hold on to the defendant temporarily is where the officials of the Correctional Service are not within the court premises.
”In such cases, the policemen attached to the court and the court registrars will keep the defendant inside the courtroom pending the arrival of the Correctional officers.
”Alternatively, the policemen and the registrars can take the defendant to the custodial centre as ordered by the court. The SSS brought Emefiele to the court for the purpose of arraignment.
”The moment the Judge ordered Emefiele to be remanded in the custody of the Correctional Service, the SSS should have immediately vacated the court premises since the Correctional officers were within the court premises and were prepared to discharge their functions.
”For those who may not know, the Nigerian Correctional Service has makeshift detention facilities in many court premises in Nigeria. They are usually available.”